The series is as long as Pokémon is sure to be filled with mysteries and one of the biggest has huge implications for Ash & Pikachu’s relationship. In 2017, Pokémon The Movie: I Choose You! climax when Ash desperately asks Pikachu why he doesn’t come back with his pokeball. The audience was stunned when he received an answer in simple English. Since then, the reality of this scene has been the subject of heated debate.
The general consensus is that Pikachu’s confession was the result of some kind of dream state that Ash fell into. However, while he was certainly weakened and appeared to be about to faint, Ash did not seem disoriented to the point of hallucinating talking animals. He was aware enough to protect Pikachu as best he could in his condition. It seems like Ash has, in fact, always been able to understand Pokémon – this is just the first time audiences have been able to.
Pikachu talks to Ash and reveals why he didn’t receive his Pokéball
Ash tries to reason with Pikachu in Pokemon The Movie: I Choose You!
Ash’s world is a place where all sorts of impossible things happen regularly. If abandoned toys can be revived as Pokémon, it only makes sense that some of these everyday spells would work on humans. All of the characters have deep relationships with their Pokémon, to the point where they seem to understand whatever message the little animals are trying to convey. Sometimes the conversation unfolds in obvious and even humorous ways, such as when Pikachu has to play a game of charades for a few minutes. Other times, communication is much more subtle. It is these conversations that show that humans have power too: they have understood the Poké language this whole time.
It is not as impossible as it seems. According to in-game lore, humans and Pokémon were once one. They shared a common ancestor until they began to evolve apart. Although different, different species continue to grow together. It would make sense if this co-evolution led to the ability to understand each other’s speech. Like other traits, the strength of this ability can vary from person to person. Ash, with this ability to connect with his Pokémon, is able to understand them more clearly.
So why don’t Pokémon just walk around and talk frankly all the time? The simple answer is yes, but the audience does not understand them because they are different from the people in the movie. It is similar to other media such as The Secret Life of Pets, where the audience can understand the animals when they talk, but the humans in the film cannot. In the case of Pokémon, the roles are reversed. During the climax of I Choose You! letting the viewer step into Ash’s shoes and revealing that he can talk to Pikachu the entire time adds to the emotional impact of the scene.
Pikachu’s speaking role in Pokémon the Movie: I Choose You! The audience is divided. But if that scene had been viewed through the lens of language in the Pokémon world, perhaps it wouldn’t have caused such an uproar. The ability to understand Pokémon is normal but very difficult. If someone is not a character in the anime world then there is no reason for them to understand the Poké language. The human characters’ ability to talk to Pokémon is a leftover from their evolutionary history, from the days when they were all one and the same. Their common ancestor is the key to unlocking the mystery behind Pikachu’s ability to talk and Ash’s ability to understand him in any situation. Pokémon.